The spoon theory was created by a lady called Christine Miserandino, when she was trying to explain to a good friend of hers why she was unable to do some of the daily tasks most healthy people take for granted.
When you are healthy when you are doing everyday tasks, you do not think about how much energy it costs you like brushing your teeth, getting dressed. This is because you body has an unlimited supply of energy at your disposal. However when suffering from a chronic illness all this changes due to your body now using most of your energy to fight pain, fatigue and other symptoms of your chronic illness.
Therefore you now only have a limited amount of energy at your disposal to do these daily tasks, this is
where the spoons come in.
Your energy now consists of 12 spoons (for example some people have fewer at their disposal, some have more). To do any daily tasks it now costs you spoons, so your day may be –
- Getting up (1 spoon)
- Getting Dressed (1 spoon)
- Driving to Work (2 spoons)
- Work (4 spoons)
- Driving Home (2 spoons)
So when you get home from a day at work you only have 2 spoons left. You have a choice, borrow spoons from tomorrow to complete your evening tasks or leave some of the tasks out. So with your two spoons you choose to have food (1 spoon) and get ready for bed (1 spoon). Your energy is now gone.
Spoons can fluctuate for good days and bad days with chronic illnesses, you might find tomorrow you have a bad flare up day and you now only have 6 spoons instead of your usual 12 and the day after that you are bouncing off the walls with 20 spoons.
The Spoon theory makes it easier for you to learn what your body can and cannot cope with. Keep a diary and learn how many spoons each of your activities cost you and how many spoons you can use before you get to the point of being totally fatigued that you drop. Once you have mastered this you can organise your days better so that you can even have enough spoons to do something you really need
to do, like sort out junk or something you really enjoy before going to bed that night.
These are example amounts, some people with chronic illness may take more spoons to do certain tasks and less to do others.
A full print out of this can be found within the Facebook Group – Tameside Fibromyalgia Support Group (fibro warriors)